Chia, these small 1mm-sized oval mottled brown, black and white seeds have been touted as another addition to the ever-growing Superfoods list. Always up for trying out something healthy, it was time to give these a try. And weirdly, it isn’t because of their taste that I like these, but their lack of taste.
Chia seeds, salvia hispanica, come from a species of flowering plant in the mint family. Chia is native to Mexico and Guatamala and it was used by the Aztecs as a food source.
With regards to nutritional values, Chia is pretty hot stuff. Apparently chia seeds are high in calcium (a 28g serving contains 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium), high in phosphorous (27% of your recommended daily intake and important for healthy bone formation) and manganese (30% – important for metabolism of energy, brain function and more). Chia seeds are also good sources of dietary fibre and are low in cholesterol and sodium. They also have high quantities of omega-3, although these aren’t beneficial in the form that it comes in as chia seeds – they need to be converted from short chain ALA omega-3 to long-chain EPA/DHA omega-3 before they’re beneficial. And our bodies aren’t so good at converting these.
Benefits of Eating Chia
- Chia seeds are said to help the slow release of energy – when soaked in liquid, the seeds form a gel-like substance and it’s this barrier that slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates. Perfect for athletes.
- This gelling action and the combination of soluble and insoluble fibre also helps your body reduce your blood sugar slumps. Ensuring you have contant energy throughout the day.
- The Chia seeds’ gelling action increases it’s size and weight which can leave you feeling fuller for longer.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
- You can eat these raw – they don’t have much of a taste – some describe it as ‘nutty’, and not altogether unpleasant but it is a bit annoying to eat like this.
- You can soak these in fruit juice. They’re already doing this in Mexico and call it Chia Fresca.
- Sprinkle them onto your porridge.
- Add them to your cooking, such as in bread, cakes and biscuits. Try my recipe for Raw Chocolate Coconut balls with Chia >
Chia and the Novel Foods Act
This isn’t as fun as it sounds. Because Chia seeds haven’t been eaten by humans to a ‘significant degree’ prior to May 1997. More information here > Due to this however, the company I bought these from, Detox Your World, ask that you add it to bread as an ingredient that comprises no more than 5% of the final loaf. Whilst it’s been eaten safely in large amounts for over four thousands years, I like that the way that Detox Your World ask so nicely.
Where to buy Chia Seeds
£2.30 for a 100g pouch